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Starting Point Systems portable NOS DAC

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by cjg888, Mar 12, 2014.
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  1. richard51
    After 1 year with this dac,i must say that for the price, this dac is without defect for me...All negative reviews or negative impressions must come for some problems of synergy,some non cleaned audio system or line....Image is holographic, bass,highs perfect, atmospheric organic fluid sound are my impressions...Except for my own designed cleaning methods, this dac is one of my most greatest discovery,because the question is: at what price some upgrading from it is really possible? At the end a natural sound is a natural sound...

    When I listened to it the first time I love it but I was not so thrilled by it like I am now; the reason is simple, like any piece of gear it is mandatory if you want to listen to it at his full potential to listen to it in a cleaned electrical and a cleaned audio grid.... I must admit that it was the same for my beloved Sansui amplifier, at first listening very good but not extraordinary...Now with a cleaned electrical and cleaned audio grid the Sansui like the french dac push me in musical extasy….Conclusion before upgrading an already good amplifier or dac think twice...Have you ever listen to your own gear at his maximum potential already? I know by experience now that the answer is 90 % of the time no and probably 98%:ksc75smile::ksc75smile:

    I will give you an example: some people,among them a specialist of dac I have read about, say that they does not know what is a headstage or if that corresponding headphone concept of soundstage exist at all or correspond to something in a headphone equal to the soundstage concept in speakers... I can assure you that headstage exist, and if someone want to experience it, differently for sure with different headphones, this someone need to have the more clean electrical grid line and the more clean audio grid possible,if not,this someone will possibly say after listening to many dac and headphones that he does not know what a headstage is...I can assure you that a good amp and dac in a clean grid give you a 3-d headstage and a holographic soundstage, if not your speakers and headphone are not so good, or your 2 grids are noisy ...This is my experience..

    This insatisfaction of many people with their own gear comes from a noisy grid most of the time often not really from their already good gear ...I pay peanuts for this dac and I am in love with his natural rendering of instrumental timbre and voice in headphone and in my speakers... I post in this dying thread to reanimate it a bit for a newcomer who will want to buy at low cost a top audiophile product....My best to all....
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    Haden2866 likes this.
  2. stellarelephant
    IMG_3896.JPG Hi Richard,
    You are not the only person out there who cannot look back after discovering the Philips multibit magic. I am getting tons of beauty from my DIY TDA1387 setup after giving proper attention to noise isolation, reclocking, and of course, power quality. I even have a few pretty rocks nearby :). Cheers.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
    protoss, Haden2866 and richard51 like this.
  3. Haden2866
    8003B1B4-2228-4569-9137-4154DB5210E9.jpeg Hi friends,

    Yes, I am also still enjoying this DAC. Some listening sessions are just transcendent - beautiful.
    I find running it from a 12v SLA battery works exceptionally well - better than any other DC power supply I have tried so far.
    Here's a photo from the other day when I was enjoying my portable rig sitting in the sunshine on my front doorstep:
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
    stellarelephant and richard51 like this.
  4. stellarelephant
    Hi Haden,
    Cool...is that an RPi with Allo DigiOne hat feeding your SPS DAC? I have gone the I2S route but that does narrow down DAC choices. How are you providing 5V?
  5. Haden2866
    Yes, exactly; RPi with Allo DigiOne HAT.
    Powering the RPi is an Anker power brick, for charging phones, with an IFi Audio iSilencer USB dongle to surpress noise. Good enough, I would say, and powers it for hours on end.
    I'm quite tempted by the Allo DigiOne Signature which has a dirty side and a clean side requiring separate power supplies - I would want to look at something supercapacitor-based for the clean side which would add £££ and I worry would start to make my portable rig less, well, portable.
    I will catch up your TDA1387 adventure on the other thread. You may remember I bought a heavily-modded 8x (originally; now 4x) Chinese TDA1387 DAC from Malefoda on here but I haven't been able to make it sing yet.
    Just for completeness, the headamp in the picture above is a Neco Soundlab v5 with which I will never part.
    Regards, H
    stellarelephant likes this.
  6. axtran
    The only issue that I have seen with my SPS DAC 3 is that it has some issues in macOS. However, I have switched to Windows lately... and it is just super! I feel extra basic since all I'm pumping it into is an O2 Amplifier...
  7. protoss
  8. Sapientiam
    Good bang for the buck, especially if you love the multibit sound. Its rather sensitive to USB power quality though, there's no regulation internally of the USB bus power. Only runs at 44k1/48k over USB so no opportunity to upsample on your computer.

    I bought one or two for modding. Never listened to them stock so can't really comment except to say it uses external power for the headamp. Can't recall if the DAC chips are powered from the USB bus or not (I'd hope not).
    protoss likes this.
  9. protoss

    Guess, I be buying both these items :)

    If you know any other cool items please let me know.

    Also which Teradak version the best? V2.6 or 2.7 or 3.1 ?
  10. CJG888
    I had the 3.1 and wasn’t impressed. IMO, my Hifiman HM-603 outperformed it.

    The Chameleon is good, though (but replace the output caps with Obbligatos).
  11. automojo
    The beyond TDA DAC.. it’s not very good... bought one years ago... thought it was a NOS.. any how.. sounds like a cheap CD player...
  12. richard51
    I bought a Ifipower transformer for my Starting point systems dac to replace my lithium external battery... I must confess my surprize to the sensible improvement of the experience of the sound....I tweak the ifipower with Stones and the results were better... even before that I was in love with this dac… I cannot imagine to replace it because of the ratio quality/price...I know it is impossible to do so...:ksc75smile:

    I was thinking really that the battery would make less noise than the Ifipower, not being connected directly to my electrical power grid, that was not right, the Ifipower was better without tweak...But after I tweak the Ifipower I get more better results...:L3000:
  13. Mampus
    Glad more people are looking and talking about this DAC :)

    Thing is, I've wanted this DAC (or any DAC on the SPS range) since this thing came out. When both of my ears (back then I was in Uni) meets the mighty HiFiMAN HM-801 (and the less insane HM-602) and the hated-by-almost-everybody Altmann Tera, I know what kind of sound will I get once I've got enough money to spend.

    Time sure files, and now I have basically very different rig to what my plan used to be.

    I know...

    But I agree on the thing that your electricity that feeds you rig needs to be cleaned first and foremost. Back then when I bought my Solo SRGII (now cost about $700-ish with the upgraded PSU), I'm just using a dollar store power distributor, and I can tell that this isn't like $700 headphone amp at all!. One day I decided to auditioned an used power conditioner, and boy what a difference! Everything is cleaner, clearer, more focus, more layer, tighter, etc. Can't believe this thing have a huge impact for my rig for years to come. In fact, when I got a chance to bought the somewhat-irresistable DA10, when using the dollar store power distributor, unsuprisingly, it doesn't sound like the price suggest ($1000-ish back then) at all too! (Don't worry, the DA10 is now connected to the conditioner). The next suprise comes when I did have a chance to try more expensive power cable (spoiler alert: the power cable cost about 1/4 of the DA10). Man, the pursuit of having a better power source with better power cable is as exciting as getting a new rig! :)

    Happy listening everybody! :ksc75smile:
    richard51 likes this.
  14. richard51
    Another update... I bought a cheap schumann generator device that put my system to a new level...(20 bucks) I tweak this little device and that make it to reah another level...I speak about that because in the long process of tweaking modifications I embark upon one year ago I always gain new level of sound quality,clarity,details...Never do I experience some limitations cause by the cheap french battery dac of Mr. Mariac… I am now certain that the limitations and critics of this dac are only reflections of the limitation of the room acoustic, or of the mechanical vibrations plaguing all audio system, or the EMI and RFI interferences that plagued also audio system with noise...

    Conclusion: I will replace my extraordinary vintage amplifier Sansui, or my totl Mission Cyrus speakers before replacing this dac...

    This dac is the bargain of the century for me and give details yes, but way more than that, a natural instrument timbre... If not, your audio system is not cleaned nor your room adequately treated... One day I see the audio room of a very known audio reviewer, all his audio gear not isolated properly, in a non treated room, and not conscious probably of the non cleanliness of the electrical grid of his house...Then what is the value reviews of subtle hues of details separating the quality of a dac from another one? I dont trust reviewer in general now...My best to all
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  15. richard51
    One thing is sure, it is more difficult to buy a very good dac than a very good amplifier, or a very good speakers, or a very good headphones, at a low cost; I know it for sure because that is my experience... I succeed but by luck and extensive studies, with a search without end for 7 years...

    By a "very good dac" I means a dac that you will perceive trough your system without real defect, and only and always a natural sounding timbre in instrument and vocals...At the price that this dac ( Starting Point Systems NOS dac tda1543) sells used or new, upgrading it has no appeal for me at all...

    Some people has said that it lack details, but in all my tweaking modification and upgrade no lack of details were experienced, except caused by other part of my system, or with my room, or with the lack of vibrations controls,or with the interference from the electrical grid...This dac gives only details integrated in musical coherence, I listen to the cd " jazz at the pawnshop" that a reviewer use for a review of a dac with a price so high that I dare not to mention it here; and all the qualities that this reviewer said about this cd to evaluate this high price dac, I had the impressions to listen to the same qualities with my low cost dac...I dont say that my dac equal the other one, I only say that the difference in price are so great and the difference in sound probably way more lower, then upgrading my dac seems impossible for me and I would not want it even with the money in my pocket...And I dont say all that to depreciate high end quality of other piece of audio, I say all that because sometimes miracles happen, and something high-end is sold at cheap price...Newcomers beware !

    I know nothing in engineering but if you open this dac you will see with your eyes how simple and minimalistic it is in design, compare it for example with other 1543 chip implementation, simplicity and minimalistic design has a sound counterpart : less noise.... And probably in this direction the internal battery between the dac proper and an external power supply is a good idea too...Ok I apologize for my rant now and wish the best to all of you...

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
    protoss likes this.
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